In 'Poet Warrior,' Poet Laureate Joy Harjo talks about pain and inspiration. : NPR's Book of the Day Poet Laureate Joy Harjo says she loved poetry as a kid, but didn't feel like it belonged to her. "It wasn't until I heard Native poets," she tells NPR's Michel Martin, "that I realized that, wow, this is a powerful tool of understanding and affirmation. And I don't know, I just started writing." Harjo had been studying medicine, she says, and she knew her people needed doctors — but what about poets? Her new memoir Poet Warrior is a chronicle of pain and injustice, of growing up poor with an abusive stepfather — but also of poetry and discovery, of taking that pain and using it to make art.

In a powerful memoir, poet Joy Harjo talks about finding her voice and using it

In a powerful memoir, poet Joy Harjo talks about finding her voice and using it

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Poet Laureate Joy Harjo says she loved poetry as a kid, but didn't feel like it belonged to her. "It wasn't until I heard Native poets," she tells NPR's Michel Martin, "that I realized that, wow, this is a powerful tool of understanding and affirmation. And I don't know, I just started writing." Harjo had been studying medicine, she says, and she knew her people needed doctors — but what about poets? Her new memoir Poet Warrior is a chronicle of pain and injustice, of growing up poor with an abusive stepfather — but also of poetry and discovery, of taking that pain and using it to make art.

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Read Gabino Iglesias's review of Poet Warrior.